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WRC Rally Latvia

WRC confident it can keep manufacturers amid Hyundai future rumours

Hyundai appears to be gearing up for a World Endurance Championship programme, but the World Rally Championship remains positive it can maintain and grow its manufacturer base

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

The World Rally Championship is doing “everything” to keep its current manufacturers and create a series that can attract at least one new marque in 2027, according to the championship’s promoter.

Rallying’s top flight has long been striving to broaden its manufacturer base, having operated with three brands – namely Toyota, Hyundai and Ford via M-Sport – represented in the top class since Citroen’s exit at the end of 2019.

However, in Poland earlier this month reports circulated that Hyundai is gearing up to launch a Hypercar programme in the World Endurance Championship, casting doubt over the Korean carmaker’s long-term future in the WRC.

Hyundai Motorsport’s president and team principal Cyril Abiteboul has said that an announcement about its motorsport plans, including WRC, will come in due course – which could arrive in September. 

The news comes just a month after the FIA made a U-turn on its plans to change the technical regulations for next year, after coming under pressure from WRC manufacturers, and instead opted for stability for the next two years, ahead of all-new regulations for 2027.

Asked about the speculation surrounding Hyundai, the WRC Promoter believes the championship can maintain its current manufacturers and add one more in 2027.

“I cannot say I have no doubt [all of our current brands will stay] because it's not our decision, but I'm confident that we will create such a good championship that it's worth to be there,” Peter Thul, WRC Promoter’s Senior Director of Sport, told Motorsport.com.

“And on top of that, I also hope if we have good [2027] regulations done by the end of the year to get at least one more manufacturer going into 2027. This is our target.

Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

“This is our wish, because we have to move the championship forward. And again, I cannot comment on internal thoughts of manufacturers. But as I said, it has to be so attractive that they want to stay in. This is what we can do, and we have to do.

“We will do everything to keep these three on board and we have had good discussions with them. We are open to any suggestions. I think we have never had so much good discussions, whether it's regulations or sporting regulations.”

The WRC Promoter has declared the FIA’s push towards stability until the end of 2026 as the “right decision”, but Thul has reiterated a need for the 2027 regulations to be issued this year to help manufacturers understand the championship’s future direction.  

“I'm quite positive, I think [the FIA’s call for stability in technical regulations] is the right decision,” Thul added.

“It was good to discuss about all the kind of things, and what we now have is stability. But for us, even more important is that the regulations for 2027 are now done in a very fast way. That means we need it this year because we have to think about the future – I think that everybody knows that there is a need and there is a lot of work already ongoing.

“Let's say we are not doing the rules, but we know what's going on and I'm very confident. It’s getting in the right direction. I think everybody has a common sense how it should look like. The only thing is how much flexibility has to be in for the different kinds of drivetrains, this I don’t know.”

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